what makes a salad?


I was having a discussion with a friend of mine. which I feel no guilt about sharing as said friend does not read my posts. SO THERE.

she said, "I have to go, I have to make "Tuna Egg". "Tuna EGG," I asked?

"yeah, tuna egg. Fred's mom made tuna egg. I don't know what it is exactly."

"do you mean tuna salad?" I asked.

"no, its tuna and boiled eggs", she replied

"that's it? tuna and boiled eggs?" (yes, these are the deep philosophical conversations I have with my friends. aren't you jealous?)

"well, I put celery and other things but there are boiled eggs in it so......" she trailed off

"yes. that's tuna salad" I reply,"it's in the rules, tuna salad has to have boiled eggs in it."

"you sound like Melissa, she always has a rules for food. potato salad only has sour cream and bacon bits in it. that sounds like a baked potato to me but Melissa said it's potato salad"

"no, that's not potato salad," I clarified, "potato salad, pea salad, tuna salad, they're all the same except the naming ingredient, you change out the main ingredient but the salad part is all the same. celery, diced pickles, diced onion (unless you're me and onions make you sick), diced green pepper (take that onions), boiled egg, dallop of mayo to hold it all together. wait, no, potato salad also has mustard but that's because we're us".

"this is all ridiculous. to even consider potatoes a salad ingredient" she mocked and ended the call.


but it made me think, what makes a salad a salad?

I ordered ingredients to make a cranberry salad: pureed pineapple, mandarin oranges, apple, whole cranberry gel substance in a can, raspberry Jello (uh yeah, I am naming the brand). apparently I am supposed to combine all these ingredients and allow it to solidify and serve with whipped cream. the true recipe also calls for nuts but I would like to live to see tomorrow so those are omitted. oh and I can add diced celery if I want more crunch.

is it celery? is that what makes a salad a salad?

potato, tuna and pea salad all contain roughly the same ingredients.

but three bean salad has beans and vinegar? oil? I have no idea. I don't like three bean salad. or maybe I do. I like green beans, I like wax beans. I can deal with kidney beans.

is it that the food in question is served cold? maybe that makes food a salad.

but then ice cream would be salad because it is served cold. no. that can't be the defining characteristic.

Caesar salad &Green Goddess Salad are named after their dressing. so, their binding agent. but Cobb salad is named after? Ty Cobb? that's the only Cobb I know. but I like that salad. with ranch dressing.

it can't be the dressing thing because not all salads have dressing.

or do they? I suppose the mayo in pea, potato, tuna, chicken, egg salads could be the dressing. so is the Jello the dressing in my cranberry salad?

would that make all Jello combos "salad"?

this is so interesting and yet, at the same time, not. it feels like it would qualify for a Seinfeld episode. a whole thing about nothing.

well, enjoy your salad today. whatever salad it is.

and whatever it isn't.



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